‘Ma­jor­ity’ of coun­cil will ap­prove Green Line: Nen­shi

Calgary Herald - - CITY+REGION - MADE­LINE SMITH ma­smith@post­media.com

Mayor Na­heed Nen­shi says he an­tic­i­pates an “over­whelm­ing ma­jor­ity” of city coun­cil will ap­prove the Green Line on Tues­day, as more coun­cil­lors an­nounced sup­port for the city’s plan.

City of­fi­cials re­leased re­vised rec­om­men­da­tions Mon­day for the first stage of the LRT ex­pan­sion, run­ning from 16th Av­enue N. to Shep­ard in the south­east.

“I think that what will be be­fore us is ad­min­is­tra­tion’s bat­tle-tested, dif­fi­cult rec­om­men­da­tion with just a lit­tle bit of clar­ity and nu­ance to it,” Nen­shi said.

Coun­cil has ap­peared di­vided on the Green Line in re­cent days, no­tably about whether to go ahead with plans to build a new bridge for the LRT over the Bow River. But the mayor said those is­sues have been re­solved.

Coun­cil be­gan a two-day meet­ing Mon­day, and they’re set to dis­cuss the Green Line on Tues­day.

Some changes have been made to what coun­cil’s Green Line com­mit­tee con­sid­ered ear­lier this month.

Now, city coun­cil­lors will con­sider break­ing the tran­sit ex­pan­sion into three seg­ments: the south­east leg roughly from the El­bow River to Shep­ard, the tun­nel be­neath the Belt­line and down­town, and the bridge over the Bow River and sur­face train up to 16th Av­enue N.

If ap­proved, the plan would see the city start the process of hir­ing a com­pany to build the sec­tion of the Green Line that crosses the river and moves through Cres­cent Heights.

But they would hold off on sign­ing the con­tract un­til con­struc­tion of the down­town sec­tion “has suf­fi­ciently ad­vanced” to show that the project is stay­ing within its $4.9-bil­lion cap­i­tal bud­get.

The rec­om­men­da­tions in­volve a re­con­sid­er­a­tion, mean­ing at least 10 of Cal­gary’s 15 coun­cil mem­bers must vote in favour. Nen­shi said that should be no is­sue for the fi­nal ap­proval.

Coun. Jeff Dav­i­son has in re­cent weeks ques­tioned plans to build the por­tion of the project over the Bow River, say­ing he’d rather see “one good line” built from Shep­ard to Eau Claire while the city takes more time to look at the river cross­ing.

But on Tues­day, he wrote on Twit­ter that he thinks the city’s new plans are “a big im­prove­ment.”

The new rec­om­men­da­tion also comes with a shift to “an em­pha­sis on north cen­tral Cal­gary” in plan­ning the next phase of the Green Line, in­clud­ing ac­com­mo­da­tion for bus rapid tran­sit and tran­sit-on-de­mand that can be con­verted to LRT when more govern­ment fund­ing is avail­able.

Even­tu­ally, the full Green Line is planned to run for 46 km, from 160th Av­enue N. to Se­ton in the south­east.

Coun. Jyoti Gondek, who pre­vi­ously joined Dav­i­son in ques­tion­ing the Green Line’s path, said the guar­an­tee for the north sealed her sup­port.

“Know­ing that we have to have a river cross­ing and it can’t be the Cen­tre Street Bridge, we have a rec­om­men­da­tion be­fore us that makes sense,” she said.

GREEN LINE POLLS

The fi­nal steps to­ward a Green Line vote come as an ad­vo­cacy group re­leased a poll Mon­day show­ing about two-thirds of re­spon­dents sup­port the tran­sit project based on an­tic­i­pated job cre­ation.

Cal­gar­i­ans for Tran­sit com­mis­sioned re­search and com­mu­ni­ca­tions firm Con­verso to con­duct the tele­phone poll on June 11. The poll, which Con­verso says con­tained a ran­dom mix of land lines and cell­phones, got 1,617 re­sponses. It has a +/-3 per cent mar­gin of er­ror, 19 times out of 20.

When re­spon­dents were told the city ex­pects the LRT line’s con­struc­tion to cre­ate 20,000 jobs, about 68 per cent of peo­ple said they sup­port the project.

When peo­ple polled were told the Green Line is get­ting $3 bil­lion of fund­ing from the pro­vin­cial and fed­eral gov­ern­ments, about 71 per cent of peo­ple said they sup­port mov­ing for­ward.

GAVIN YOUNG

Ctrain Green Line sup­port­ers ral­lied out­side city hall early this month. Coun­cil is ex­pected to dis­cuss the line Tues­day.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.